Heritage Protection and Repair Orders and Notices

Updated information on the orders and notices issued to protect our heritage places
Last updated: 19 July 2021

The Heritage Act 2018 (the Act) enables the Minister for Heritage to issue notices and orders to heritage property owners to ensure our heritage places are adequately protected from damage or neglect. The Act prescribes five instruments to protect heritage places:

  • Consent order (Section 55)
  • Stop work order (Section 56)
  • Continuing protection order (Section 57)
  • Repair notice (Section 64)
  • Repair order (Section 65)

Some of these instruments can be applied to any recognised heritage place, but others apply only to those listed in the State Register of Heritage Places.

In addition to these instruments, the Act also prescribes penalties for contravention of orders (refer Sections 129 to 132) which may consist of a daily penalty of $50,000, a fine of $1,000,000 and imprisonment for one year. The Act also prescribes restoration orders (Section 133) and prohibition orders (Section 134) to ensure places are returned to their original state before deliberate damage or neglect takes place, and to prevent certain actions from taking place.

Useful publications

Stop work orders

The Heritage Minister may issue a stop work order when works are underway at a heritage place, but it becomes necessary to halt work to ensure protection of the place or to prevent further damage from occurring. Stop work orders can be issued without the consent of the property owner. Stop work orders expire either 60 days from the date the order is made or, where the order is continued in force by the State Administrative Tribunal, on the expiry date prescribed by the Tribunal. The Minister may revoke a stop work order prior to these dates.

Continuing protection orders

Where a place requires ongoing protection, not just for a period of time, the Heritage Minister may issue a continuing protection order. Before an order is issued, the Heritage Council will ensure all property owners impacted are notified of the nature of protections being sought and the reasons for the order. The Council will also undertake public consultation to inform the recommendation to the Minister, who is the final decision-maker. Continuing protection orders can be issued without the agreement of the owner.

Like consent and stop work orders, continuing protection orders prohibit certain actions from taking place and can be absolute, conditional or subject to the discretion of a person named in the order. Continuing protection orders may expire where there is such a date written into the order. Where no date is given, the order continues until revoked by the Minister.

Repair notices and orders

Repair notices and orders are used as a last resort, when all other attempts to negotiate an acceptable heritage outcome for a State Registered place have failed, and the place is at considerable risk of damage due to neglect. These notices and orders require owners to take specific actions to repair their property to an acceptable standard. The Heritage Council issues repair notices, with the Minister for Heritage issuing repair orders.

Repair notices and orders only relate to places entered in the State Register of Heritage Places. Where a locally listed place is referred to the Heritage Council, the Council may inform the relevant local government of the level of disrepair, with the local government able to take action under the Building Act 2011 or Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015.

Detailed information on repair notices and orders is contained in the Heritage Council’s Policy for Repair Notices and Orders.

What is 'considerable risk'?

Places are considered to have considerable risk of damage due to neglect where there is evidence that irreversible damage may occur due to the categories of neglect prescribed in the Heritage Regulations 2019. Some examples are:

  • Missing or damaged structural elements, doors, windows or openings, roof cladding or rainwater goods
  • Infestation by vermin such as rats, white ants or birds

Repair notices and orders cannot require the owner of a place registered as a ruin to reinstate place elements (for example, a roof) that were absent at the time of entry in the State Register of Heritage Places.

Before issuing a repair notice

The Heritage Council will always try to work with the owner of a place at-risk. Before issuing any notice, the Council will check that action is necessary to secure the place from damage, contact the owner to advise their concerns, and work with them to explore opportunities to make repairs. The Council may offer technical advice, planning of works or financial assistance to further help the owner.

The repair notice will detail the repairs required and specify an expected completion date. Where this date lapses and repairs have not been undertaken satisfactorily, the Heritage Council may ask the Heritage Minister to issue a repair order.

Before issuing a repair order

Where the Heritage Council has issued a repair notice that failed to see adequate improvement in property condition, the Council may ask the Heritage Minister to issue a repair order. Like repair notices, repair orders give specific direction to property owners as to what needs to be done and prescribe a completion date. Failure to comply with a repair order can result in heavy penalties.

Lifting a repair notice or order

Repair notices and orders terminate when the Heritage Council confirms all tasks have been satisfactorily completed; the Minister withdraws the notice or order; or the State Administrative Tribunal revokes the order.